Many times our spiritual quest becomes so introverted that we forget our connection to all life energies. This can lead us farther from enlightenment and project a false sense of entitlement. That is why it is essential to expand our practice beyond the goal of self-fulfillment, whether it is during yoga, meditation, or our daily attitudes. The act of striving for selfless, universal enlightenment is defined in the Mahayana Buddhist term Bodhicitta.
Making the conscience vow to embrace compassion and empathy toward all beings in order to achieve global transcendence is the noble act of a bodhisattva possessing bodhicitta. Unlike achieving individual nirvana, the bodhicitta mind becomes enlightened yet stays on Earth in order to help others reach their full potential. They do so by projecting happiness through interactions, spreading positivity to all they encounter. By acting kind for the sake of others, a bodhicitta warrior loses their sense of self-delusion and emotional attachments. The self is no longer the object of desire; rather, there is a need to raise the awareness of the universal consciousness.
The Dalai Lama says, “The precious awakening mind of bodhicitta, which cherishes other sentient beings more than oneself, is the pillar of the bodhisattva’s practice – the path of the great vehicle.”
The mind awakens in many ways through self-disciplines of yoga, meditation, and life style choices like veganism. Once awakened, the mind automatically becomes subject to transformational thoughts of the no-self concept or in Buddhism anatman. To realize that your ego exists only in your mind and therefore does not exist at all dissolves the delusion separation. This realization liberates you from the desire to feed the ego through material goods or personal achievements. Naturally, you become a servant to others through an intense desire to relieve their suffering. Bodhicitta is therefore a unique yet automatic reaction toward the pathway of enlightenment.
There are two stages of bodhicitta: relative and absolute or aspirational and engaged. During relative bodhicitta we begin to see the divine need to remove the ego in order to assist others. It is the wish felt so strongly in your heart that it cannot be ignored. This is the planning stage where we pledge to never lose this determination to achieve the goal of bodhicitta neither in this lifetime or the next. The next stage is actionable as we engage in the behavior of the bodhicitta mind. This part takes great discipline as it involves constant training of both action and inaction. The promise of bodhicitta must not be broken to truly achieve this level of consciousness. Therefore, continuous practice of the mind (aspirations) and body (engagement) must be maintained. Bodhicitta meditation keeps the promise fresh while absolute practice of kindness accomplishes the mission.
The bodhicitta mind is the most powerful act of enlightenment as it seeks to liberate all conscious beings as we transcend together. It is an infectious force that motivates kindness in others, giving way to a wave of compassion and empathy that is much needed in this world. What is greater than personal nirvana? It is the selfless path to universal enlightenment and it is one of the most virtuous agendas.